Our first big event of the year will make you forget Zoom fatigue. This online festival of ideas is not to be missed: On three days, from February 21 through February 23, we’re presenting a stellar cast of prominent speakers from business, science, arts and politics to answer the most pressing questions the world is facing right now.
Covid-19, digital transformation, climate change, geopolitical tensions – all of these challenges demand new, creative solutions. So we turned to our network of experts and are asking them for their perspectives.
We’re making this online event free to attend, so that people from around the world can tune in and benefit from the All Stars knowledge exchange. We will also offer online networking with algorithmic match-making and, in cooperation with Clubhouse, there will be an after-hours Clubhouse chat with select speakers on Sunday, February 21.(Yes, Sunday. We’ll make it inspiring and fun. Promise.)
This sneak preview is intended to give you a general idea of what to expect. As DLD regulars know, the agenda is always in flux – a dynamic interplay of speakers and subjects. The fun is in attending.
Europe’s Green Future
Sustainability, renewable energy and the circular economy are stated priorities of the EU Commission under President Ursula von der Leyen, who will speak about Europe’s plans for a Green New Deal. A key element of this strategy is the “new European Bauhaus” initiative, inspired by Germany’s hugely influential design school of the 1920s, the original Bauhaus founded by the architect Walter Gropius.
The plan is to bring together artists, digital experts, entrepreneurs, engineers and other change-makers to develop new concepts for a circular economy. European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel will explore the concept in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist. Danish star architect Bjarke Ingels and Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, will explore the initiative’s potential to boost Europe’s transition to a more eco-friendly economy and lifestyle.
Coping With Covid
Researchers around the world have managed to develop a Sars-CoV-2 vaccine in record time. The one developed by Germany’s BioNTech, together with Pfizer, was the first to be approved. BioNTech CEO Uğur Şahin, who founded the company with his partner Özlem Türeci, will explain how BioNTech’s researchers managed to succeed so quickly – and how the mRNA technology behind the vaccine holds great promise in fighting cancer as well. (More on this in our DLD Health & Medicine Collection.) He will also address the question of how to prevent the next pandemic.
One of the most promising developments in medicine is data analytics paired with individual insights into patients’ DNA. With her company 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki has been a widely celebrated pioneer in the field of consumer genetics and research. She will discuss the possibilities opening up for personal medicine with tech reporter and New York Times contributor Kara Swisher, known for her wildly popular Sway and Pivot podcasts.
Humans are focused on the short term, naturally, since asking “What’s for dinner?” is more relevant for survival than pondering the distant future. But during the pandemic you may find yourself overpowered by too much negative news. When all seems bleak, where do you find hope for another day? Author Rolf Dobelli and artist Stefan Sagmeister offer ideas on how to stay calm during the storm and see light on the horizon.
The revolutionary potential of biotechnology and digital health is enormous, and it can be hard to keep track of everything that’s suddenly becoming possible – or already happening. Pardis Sabeti, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Harvard University, will discuss Covid-19 and the pandemic’s potential as a catalyst for change with Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO of Merck Group. The conversation will be moderated by Sara Weber, Managing Editor of the DACH region at LinkedIn.
For his work showing that humans often make irrational decisions, particularly under pressure, Princeton psychologist Prof. Daniel Kahneman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002. In his new book Noise: A Flaw In Human Judgement, Kahneman and his co-authors Olivier Sibony and Cass Sunstein analyze why people make bad judgments, and how to control both noise and cognitive bias. At DLD All Stars, the authors will explain key findings from their research in conversation with John Brockman.
Opportunities and Disruptions
As new technologies open up new possibilites in various industries, current winners may become tomorrow’s losers. Scott Galloway has made it a DLD tradition to predict seismic shifts in the world of tech and finance, and we can’t wait to watch him race through a new slide deck of predictions for the year ahead. (Watch his memorable DLD Sync session as an appetizer.) Artificial intelligence is already a game-changer in many areas of business and society, with China leading the way in the commercialization of AI applications. Kai-Fu Lee will analyze the global repercussions of this trend.
Imagine hopping in an air taxi and flying to your destination in minutes, skipping all trafic jams on the streets below. A growing number of companies worldwide are working hard to make this vision a reality – fast. Germany’s Volocopter is a leader in this emerging field. CEO Florian Reuter will explore the future of mobility with Tabitha Goldstaub of CognitionX and Free Now CEO Marc Berg.
Designing for Nature
Human impact on the environment is often hard to grasp, because we mostly get to see fragments of it in our daily lives. But a growing number of artists have adopted the mission of making the damage we do more visible. MoMa curator Paola Antonelli, celebrated for her Broken Nature exhibition, will discuss interspecies design in conversation with Lucia Pietroiusti of London’s Serpentine Galleries. And MIT Media Lab professor Neri Oxman is going to explore the relation between design and nature.
Investing in Tomorrow
Entrepreneurs need early investors willing to make a bet on new business models – and big corporations rely on financial markets to keep growing. DLD All Stars will look at current trends in startup funding, entrepreneurship and finance with a stellar cast of experts. In venture investing, we’re bringing together Ben Horowitz of AndreessenHorowitz (a.k.a. a16z) and Niklas Zennström, who co-founded Skype in 2003 before creating his own investment company, Atomico.
Sustainable investing and corporate social responsibility are key trends in the financial world that share a basic idea: making money should not be an end in itself, but rather serve a higher purpose – such as advancing society. For corporations, this means adhering to certain standards, as investors are increasingly paying attention to so-called ESG indicators (Environment, Social, Governance). Sir Ronald Cohen, a pioneer of impact investing, will discuss these trends in conversation with HypoVereinsbank CEO Michael Diederich. The conversation will be moderated by Acton Capital Principal Elisabeth Löwenbourg-Brzezinski.
Facebook, Etsy, Spotify – the list of Jim Breyer’s successful investments is long and impressive. The Silicon Valley star has a talent for spotting future unicorns, long before a startup’s potential becomes obvious to others. In conversation with Burda CEO Paul-Bernhard Kallen, Breyer will take a look at the international landscape of innovation ecosystems.
Society and Technology
An odd thing happened in the age of worldwide connectivity: anxiety and polarization are spreading around the globe. Wasn’t the Internet supposed to make societies more open and tolerant of other cultures, habits and beliefs? A number of All Stars sessions will analyze this phenomenon and its different aspects in business, culture, and society.
Social media companies have been widely criticized for fanning the flames of hate speech rather than finding ways to fight misinformation and become voices of moderation. Former Google developer Tristan Harris co-founded the Center for Humane Technology to push for change. At DLD Munich 2020 (and, later, in the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma), he explained how algorithms are designed to manipulate users and generate more clicks for platform owners. Harris will further explore the idea of creating more humane technology at DLD All Stars. An example could be WT.Social: The social network created by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales thrives on civil discourse, not aggression.
Autocratic regimes around the world have become highly skilled at using digital technologies as tools of both propaganda and suppression. In her home country, the Philippines, Rappler co-founder Maria Ressa has been long been fighter for free speech against much adversity. The Nobel Peace Prize nominee will address the All Stars audience in a keynote speech. (Watch her DLD20 talk here.)
Regulating data usage by big technology providers has become a hotly debated issue. This is of particular concern in areas like digital health, where service providers handle highly confidential, sensitive information. Former Vice President of the European Commission, Viviane Reding, and Brainlab founder Stefan Vilsmeier will discuss ways to safeguard user data without stifling innovation.
Business on Cloud Nine
Storing huge amounts of data on Internet-connected servers – the cloud – has opened a world of possibilities in business applications. Amazon’s AWS has been an early driver of this transformation and contributed more than $15 billion to the company’s profits in 2019. In conversation with Jennifer Schenker, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels will discuss what comes next.
Cloud computing specialist Snowflake has seen its market value rise to almost $90 billion since going public in September 2020. The company offers customers both data storage and analysis, promising new insights into business processes. Snowflake co-founder Benoit Dageville and Christian Teichmann, Partner at Burda Principal Investments, will discuss the advantages of this approach in applications like health, education and retail.